Ed Boggess receives U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Silver Eagle Award

2014ed Boggess Gull Lake
(Photo courtesy of Ed Boggess)

Bloomington, Minn. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Region on Thursday announced the presentation of the Silver Eagle Award to Ed Boggess, a longtime partner and friend to the federal agency, both during his days with the Minnesota DNR and with the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, referred to informally as MAFWA. The Silver Eagle Award is the Service’s most prestigious external award and recognizes the lifetime fish and wildlife conservation achievements of special partners like Boggess.

“We’ve worked alongside Ed for many years. Rising through the ranks of Minnesota DNR, he became deputy director for the DNR’s Fish and Wildlife Division in 2007, followed by his own time as director of that division, from 2012 to 2016,” said Midwest Regional Director Charlie Wooley. “But two weeks before his retirement in February 2016, then Regional Director Tom Melius called and asked if he was ‘really’ retiring, because Tom had an idea. What if Ed became a liaison between MAFWA and its member states and the Service, with a focus on monarch butterfly conservation?”

Fast forward six years later to the present, and Boggess has been instrumental in rallying the states and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as peer organizations to tackle some heavy conservation lifting, including the monarch species status assessment, as well as the Mid-America strategy, vision and governance of the Midwest Landscape Initiative.

Said Boggess: “I had some history with this issue. Tom Melius had contacted me in 2014 shortly after the monarch listing petition was filed and when I was chairing the Wildlife Resource Policy Committee for the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies about whether the association would support a resolution for monarch conservation. With the Pacific Regional Director in California, Regional Director Tom Melius brought a monarch resolution before the committee, and I helped walk it through the association review processes, where it ultimately received unanimous approval at the directors’ business meeting – the first Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies resolution supporting conservation of an invertebrate species.”

Boggess noted that the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies would then work toward getting monarch issues moved forward with direct funding of a conference, as well as through monarch grants, conservation planning through state agencies and developing the Mid-America conservation strategy. This included hiring a monarch technical coordinator. By that time, he was retired, but then invited back to work for MAFWA as a liaison with state directors, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other partners on monarch conservation.

“As far as the Silver Eagle award, I didn’t see it coming. I am very honored and humbled at such a prestigious award. To be honored by your colleagues and your peers is really the highest honor you can get. It means a lot to me.” Boggess said. “Given the status of the Service, the work that is done in the region and the people who do the work, to have them present me with this award was a high honor, among the highest of my career.

“I’ve had the privilege to work together with the Service with several issues over the years including endangered species issues like the lynx, wolf, landscape initiatives and the northern long-eared bat,” Boggess added. “Much like the monarch, these had both a conservation component and potential regulatory component. We broke new ground in our ways to work together on more of a peer-to-peer basis in addressing issues.”

Wooley called Boggess a great partner with the Service in his variety of career roles in conservation, including this period after coming out of retirement to work on monarch conservation.

“Even beyond this great contribution one could highlight how Ed has coached and mentored many young employees across both the Service and MAFWA, giving back to the next generation of leaders. A quiet, yet powerful legacy. One that we will cherish being a part of,” Wooley said.

Boggess has now returned to retirement, a colorful career of accomplishments in place. He laughed and said in closing, “This time I plan to work harder at staying retired.”

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